Musical theater has been filled with countless talented composers. The amount of talent in the theater world is endless, but only few composers gain iconic status. The Gershwins, Rogers & Hammerstein, and Stephen Sondheim come to mind when thinking of the pinnacle of composing. One other man who deserves his permanent place with these others would be Cole Porter. Porter’s extensive library of songs has become classics along with a series of hit musicals that are still done in high mass today. Porter had his share of incredibly tough times, and it simply only makes his rise to the top even more impressive. Cole Porter is without a doubt one of the best composers to ever write for the stage in history.
Cole Porter was born in Peru, Indiana in 1891. From the beginning of his life, his Mother started training him at a very early age. He began training with various instruments and it was realized he was naturally gifted. However, Cole’s Grandfather wants him to be a lawyer, so he sent him to Worcester and then eventually Yale. Cole joined the Glee Club, keeping music in his life at all times, and even writing fight songs for the school. Porter eventually transferred yet again, this time to the prestigious school known as Harvard. It is told that one day in class, one of the deans was frustrated in Porter’s lack of performance and told him he should not waste his time on law, and instead focus on his music. Thankfully, Porter listened to this advice.
Porter got off to a great start in 1915. His first song on Broadway, "Esmeralda", appeared in the revue Hands Up, and was a great success. However, this immediate success was followed by an immediate failure. Porter’s first full musical, See America First, was a huge flop, closing just after 2 weeks, followed by his next musical, Hitchy-Koo of 1919 also closed quickly, after just 56 performances. Feeling a sense of rejection, Porter banished himself to Paris and living off selling songs and his family’s money....
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